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Women office workers talk harassment

News research conducted by a London-based employment law firm asked people to recount the most offensive things they had ever had said to them at work


Research found that jibes about people’s age, appearance, nationality, and even eating habits, were rife, as were sexist comments made to women.


Law firm Thomas Mansfield has published the most provocative admissions and The Daily Mail’s FEMAIL correspondent Annabel Fenwick Elliott did her own digging to uncover some further examples of workplace harassment.


  • One subject revealed they once heard a male colleague mention: ‘In many respects, women are people too.’ 
  • Another, upon announcing her pregnancy, was told by her boss: ‘That’s the risk you take when you employ women.’ The subject added: ‘It was said in a jokey way but I was already worried about how my job might be affected.’
  • Another once overheard: ‘If she’s pregnant she doesn’t want a career.’
  • One woman, Helen, who was being interviewed for the role of human resources manager at a major supermarket was even asked whether she had a boyfriend and whether she wanted children in the future.
  • Another, who was temping at what she describes as a ‘very male-dominated office in the City’, says she was referred to by the CEO as ‘legs’.The worker recalls: ‘He once called out at me, “Legs, come into my office and walk up and down”.’

Plenty of subjects revealed they had been teased or patronised about their age and their accent:

  • One office worker was once told: ‘You can’t contribute, you’re only 20. Another told: ‘Once someone asked me whether I was old enough to be doing my job. I was 30.’ 
  • One was told to tone down her ‘yorkie accent’. She is from Lincolnshire.
  • Another woman, who actually is from Yorkshire, was told by her Irish boss: ‘You’ll be a better salesperson if you change your accent.’


Meredith Hurst, partner at Thomas Mansfield remarks: ‘Offence of any kind in the workplace can create a toxic and unpleasant environment, affecting staff morale and productivity. In our experience, complaints of bullying appear to be on the increase. Employers who fail actively to deal with the perpetrators of bullying and the underlying causes of conflict, will undoubtedly experience high staff turnover. Ultimately harmonious staff relationships are reflected in a company’s bottom line and the value of tolerance should not be underestimated.’


Read the full article here: